Title:
INCREASING PROTEIN PRODUCTION BY INCREASING ABC50 EXPRESSION OR ACTIVITY
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The disclosure provides methods and materials for increasing the expression of a protein of interest such as an antibody by a cell. ABC50 expression or activity is increased which increases expression of the protein or antibody of interest. The disclosure also provides methods and materials for increasing the sensitivity of a cell to an endoplasmic reticulum stress agent such as Econozole by decreasing the level of ABC50.



Inventors:
Berger, Stuart A. (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:
13/318985
Publication Date:
04/19/2012
Filing Date:
05/05/2010
Assignee:
UNIVERSITY HEALTH NETWORK (Toronto, ON, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
435/252.3, 435/252.31, 435/252.33, 435/252.34, 435/252.35, 435/254.2, 435/254.21, 435/254.23, 435/254.3, 435/320.1, 435/325, 435/348, 435/352, 435/354, 435/358, 435/365, 435/367, 435/370, 435/372, 435/375, 530/350, 536/24.5, 435/69.1
International Classes:
C12P21/00; C07K2/00; C12N1/15; C12N1/19; C12N1/21; C12N5/07; C12N5/10; C12N15/113; C12N15/63; C12P21/08
View Patent Images:
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Other References:
Chloupkova et al. 2007; Expression of 25 human ABC transporters in yeast Pichia pastoris and characterization of the purified ABCC3 ATPase activity. Biochemistry. 46:7992-8003.
Primary Examiner:
CARLSON, KAREN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BERESKIN & PARR LLP/S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l. (40 KING STREET WEST 40th Floor TORONTO ON M5H 3Y2)
Claims:
1. A method of producing a protein of interest comprising effecting expression of the protein of interest in a cell comprising an increased expression and/or activity of a ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the protein of interest is a heterologous protein, and/or an antibody or fragment thereof.

3. (canceled)

4. The method of claim 1 for producing a protein of interest comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity in a cell; and effecting the expression of the protein of interest.

5. The method of claim 4, wherein the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased by expressing a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide encoding an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof wherein the ABC50 polynucleotide is operatively linked to a promoter; or wherein the cell is Econozole (Ec) resistant and/or the expression or activity of the ABC50 protein or fragment thereof is increased by inducing Ec resistance.

6. (canceled)

7. (canceled)

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the cell comprises a heterologous polynucleotide encoding the protein of interest operatively linked to a promoter, and wherein expression is effected by incubating the cell under suitable conditions for a suitable length of time to produce the protein of interest.

9. (canceled)

10. The method of claim 1, wherein the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased and the expression of the protein of interest is effected by introducing a polynucleotide encoding the ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof, and a polynucleotide encoding the protein of interest, wherein the polynucleotides are operatively linked to one or more promoters and optionally comprised in one or more vectors.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein the protein of interest is inducible and effecting the expression of the protein of interest comprises contacting the cell with an inducer that induces expression of the protein of interest.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the ABC50 protein comprises SEQ ID NO: 1, 2 or 5; or a protein with at least 85%, 88%, 90%, 95%, 99% or 99.5% sequence identity with SEQ ID NO:1, 2 or 5.

13. The method of claim 1, wherein the method results in increased expression of the protein of interest in comparison to a control cell expressing the protein of interest wherein the control cell does not have increased expression of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity, optionally wherein the increased expression is about 5% to about 10%, about 11% to about 20%, about 21% to about 30%, about 31% to about 40%, about 41% to about 50%, 51% to about 60%, 61% to about 70%, 71% to about 80%, about 81% to about 90%, about 91% to about 100%, about 150% to about 199%, about 200% to about 299%, about 300% to about 499%, or about 500% to about 1000%.

14. (canceled)

15. The method of claim 1, wherein the cell is selected from a eukaryotic cell selected from a yeast, plant, worm, insect, avian, fish, reptile and mammalian cell.

16. (canceled)

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the mammalian cell is a myeloma cell, a spleen cell, a hybridoma fusion partner or a hybridoma cell.

18. The method of claim 15, wherein the mammalian cell is Sp2, NS0, CHO, Per.c6, L cell or is a leukemia cell, such as HL-60 or a hybridoma cell such as GK1.5.

19. The method of claim 1, wherein the protein of interest is a secreted protein, an intracellular protein, or a membrane protein.

20. The method of claim 2, wherein the antibody is monoclonal, polyclonal, mammalian, murine, chimeric, humanized, primatized, primate, or human, and/or the antibody is a fragment selected from an immunoglobulin light chain, immunoglobulin heavy chain, immunoglobulin light and heavy chains, Fab, F(ab′)2, Fc, Fc-Fc fusion proteins, Fv, single chain Fv, single domain Fv, tetravalent single chain Fv, disulfide-linked Fv, domain deleted, minibody, diabody, a fusion protein of one of the above fragments with another polypeptide or Fc-peptide fusion.

21. (canceled)

22. The method of claim 1, wherein the method further comprises isolating the protein of interest, optionally wherein the protein of interest is secreted and is secreted into a culture medium, the method further comprising isolating the secreted protein from the culture medium, or wherein the protein of interest is intracellular, the method further comprising lysing the cell and isolating the intracellular protein of interest, or wherein the protein of interest is membrane or surface bound, the method further comprising solubilizing the cell membrane and isolating the membrane protein or surface bound protein of interest.

23. (canceled)

24. (canceled)

25. (canceled)

26. The method of claim 1 for increasing expression of a heterologous protein of interest in a cell expressing the protein of interest, comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

27. (canceled)

28. A process for the production of a protein of interest comprising: culturing a cell under suitable cell culture conditions, wherein the cell produces and/or is capable of producing the protein of interest; increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity according to the method of claim 4; culturing the cell until the protein of interest accumulates, and isolating the protein of interest.

29. A process for the production of a protein of interest comprising: culturing a cell, wherein the cell comprises a heterologous polynucleotide operably linked to a promoter encoding the protein of interest and a heterologous polynucleotide operably linked to a promoter encoding, an ABC50 protein under suitable conditions permitting the expression of the protein of interest and the ABC50 protein or fragment according to the method of claim 1; culturing the cell until the protein of interest accumulates and isolating the protein of interest.

30. (canceled)

31. (canceled)

32. An isolated protein of interest produced according to the process of claim 29.

33. (canceled)

34. A vector comprising a polynucleotide encoding an ABC50 polynucleotide and optionally a polynucleotide encoding a protein of interest, wherein the polynucleotide(s) is/are operably linked to one or more promoters.

35. (canceled)

36. A cell comprising the vector of claim 34 expressing increased ABC50 protein compared to a control cell not comprising the vector or a cell comprising a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide operably linked to a promoter or an Ec resistant cell wherein the Ec resistant cell has increased ABC50 protein levels or activity compared to a non-Ec resistant control cell, wherein the cell is suitable and/or adapted for expression of a protein of interest.

37. (canceled)

38. (canceled)

39. A system for heterologous protein expression comprising the cell of claim 36 and an expression vector comprising a multicloning site for receiving a heterologous polynucleotide encoding the heterologous protein to be expressed.

40. A method of decreasing ABC50 levels in a cell comprising expressing an antisense agent that inhibits expression of ABC50 in the cell, and/or for increasing sensitivity of a cell to an ER stress agent comprising expressing an antisense agent that inhibits expression of ABC50 in the cell, optionally wherein the antisense went is a siRNA shRNA or an antisense oligonucleotide and/or comprises SEQ ID NO:3 and/or 4 and wherein the ER stress agent is optionally selected from EC, thapsigargin and tunicamycin.

41. (canceled)

42. (canceled)

43. (canceled)

44. (canceled)

45. A composition comprising a polynucleotide comprising SEQ ID NO:3 and/or 4, an isolated vector comprising a polynucleotide encoding an ABC50 polynucleotide and optionally a polynucleotide encoding a protein of interest, wherein the polynucleotide(s) is/are operably linked to one or more promoters, a cell comprising the isolated vector or comprising a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide operably linked to a promoter or an Ec resistant cell wherein the Ec resistant cell has increased ABC50 protein levels or activity compared to a non-Ec resistant control cell, wherein the cell is suitable and/or adapted for expression of a protein of interest and/or the isolated protein of claim 32.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a PCT application which claims the benefit of 35 U.S.C. §119 and/or §120 based on the priority of copending U.S. Provisional Patent Application 61/175,642 filed May 5, 2009, which is herein incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The disclosure relates to methods and compositions for protein production and specifically to methods and compositions for increasing hybridoma antibody production.

BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE

ABC50 (aka ABCF1) is a member of the ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) family of proteins. ABC50 was first identified as a Tumor Necrosis Factor α-inducible gene in synoviocytes 1, and then re-discovered as a protein that purifies with the translation initiation factor eIF22. Biochemically, ABC50 stimulates formation of complexes between eIF2, GTP and Met-tRNA, implicating it in translation initiation and control. ABC50 is a unique member of the ABC family in that it lacks transmembrane domains. Recently Paytubi et al. showed that the N-terminal region was responsible for eIF2 binding 3. Binding was found to be regulated by Casein Kinase 2 phosphorylation in this domain. Overexpression of ABC50 into HEK293 cells was not observed to boost protein expression 3.

Econazole (Ec) is an imidazole antifungal that also induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress by promoting ER Ca2+ depletion. Ec's mechanism of action involves both Ca2+ influx blockade and stimulation of ER Ca2+ release 4. The latter effect is mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation at the mitochondria 5. Some cancer cells are extraordinarily sensitive to Ec 6, 7.

The market for therapeutic proteins is currently on the order of $60 Billion worldwide. The largest component of this market is recombinant monoclonal antibodies but also includes other protein classes such as cytokines, growth factors such as insulin, coagulation factors, vaccine subunits and therapeutic enzymes. The diagnostic market is similarly estimated to be $40 Billion worldwide and a significant fraction of this market employs recombinant proteins including monoclonal antibodies. Finally, recombinant proteins for research purposes also represent a large and growing use for recombinant proteins.

It was recently estimated that about half of the 140 recombinant proteins on the market are produced in mammalian cells 8. Given the requirement for large amounts of protein, particularly in the therapeutic setting, there is clearly a need for optimizing natural and recombinant protein production.

SUMMARY OF THE DISCLOSURE

An aspect of the disclosure includes a method of producing a protein of interest in a cell comprising increasing the expression or activity of a ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having eIF2 binding activity; and effecting the expression of the protein of interest.

In an aspect, the disclosure provides a method of producing a heterologous protein of interest in a cell comprising increasing the expression or activity of a ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity; and effecting the expression of the protein of interest.

In another aspect, the disclosure provides a method of producing an antibody of interest or fragment thereof in a cell capable of expressing an antibody comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

Another aspect relates to a method of increasing expression of a heterologous protein of interest in a cell expressing the protein of interest, comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

Yet another aspect relates to a method of increasing expression of an antibody of interest in a cell expressing the antibody of interest, comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

In an embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased by introducing a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide encoding ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof operatively linked to a promoter.

In another embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased by contacting the cell with increasing concentrations of Econozole (Ec), and detecting increased expression or activity of ABC50 protein.

In an embodiment, the cell comprises a heterologous polynucleotide encoding the protein of interest operatively linked to a promoter.

In another embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased and the expression of the protein of interest is effected by introducing a vector comprising a polynucleotide encoding ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof, and a heterologous polynucleotide of the protein of interest, wherein the polynucleotides are operatively linked to one or more promoters.

In another embodiment, effecting the expression of the protein of interest comprises contacting the cell with an inducer that induces expression of the protein of interest or induces expression of ABC50.

In a further embodiment, the ABC50 protein comprises SEQ ID NO: 1, 2 or 5; or a protein with at least 90%, 95%, 99% or 99.5% identity with SEQ ID NO:1, 2 or 5.

In an embodiment, the method results in increased specific cellular expression and/or production of the protein of interest in comparison to a control cell expressing the protein of interest wherein: the control cell does not have increased expression of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

In another embodiment, the method results in increased specific cellular expression and/or production of the antibody of interest in comparison to a control cell expressing the antibody of interest wherein the control cell does not have increased expression of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

In a further embodiment, wherein the increase in expression and/or production is about 5% to about 10%, about 11% to about 20%, about 31% to about 40%, about 41% to about 50%, 51% to about 60%, 61% to about 70%, 71% to about 80%, about 81% to about 90%, about 91% to about 100%, about 150% to about 199%, about 200% to about 299%, about 300% to about 499%, or about 500% to about 1000%.

In an embodiment, the cell is a eukaryotic cell selected from a yeast, plant, worm, insect, avian, fish, reptile and mammalian cell. In another embodiment, the mammalian cell is a myeloma cell, a spleen cell, or a hybridoma cell. In yet a further embodiment, the mammalian cell is a leukemia cell, such as HL-60; or a hybridoma cell such as Sp2; or a chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell.

The protein of interest or antibody of interest is, in an embodiment, a secreted protein, an intracellular protein, or a membrane protein.

In another embodiment, the protein of interest is an antibody or antibody fragment or derivative thereof. In an embodiment, the antibody is monoclonal, polyclonal, mammalian, murine, chimeric, humanized, primatized, primate, or human. In another embodiment, the antibody is a fragment or derivative thereof selected from antibody immunoglobulin light chain, immunoglobulin heavy chain, immunoglobulin light and heavy chains, Fab, F(ab′)2, Fc, Fc-Fc fusion proteins, Fv, single chain Fv, single domain Fv, tetravalent single chain Fv, disulfide-linked Fv, domain deleted, minibody, diabody, a fusion protein of one of the above fragments with another peptide or protein or Fc-peptide fusion.

In an embodiment, the method further comprises isolating the protein of interest or the antibody of interest. Where, for example, the protein or antibody of interest is secreted, the method in an embodiment, further comprises isolating the secreted protein or secreted antibody of interest. Where, for example, the protein or antibody of interest is intracellular, the method further comprises in an embodiment, lysing the cell and isolating the intracellular protein or antibody of interest. In another embodiment, where the protein or antibody of interest is membrane or surface bound, the method in an embodiment, further comprises solubilizing the cell membrane and isolating the membrane protein or surface antibody of interest.

A further aspect provides a process for the production of a protein of interest comprising: culturing a cell, wherein the cell produces the protein of interest, increasing the expression or activity of a ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity, which enhances protein production; culturing the cell until the protein of interest accumulates, and isolating the protein of interest.

Another aspect provides a process for the production of a protein of interest comprising: culturing a cell wherein the cell comprises an expression vector that encodes the protein of interest and an expression vector that encodes a ABC50 protein under conditions that permit expression of the protein of interest and the ABC50 protein; culturing the cell until the protein of interest accumulates and isolating the protein of interest.

In an embodiment, the process provides for the production of a protein of interest, wherein the protein of interest is an antibody or antibody fragment.

Another aspect relates to a method of decreasing ABC50 levels in a cell comprising expressing an antisense agent that inhibits expression of ABC50 in the cell.

A further aspect provides a method of increasing sensitivity of a cell to ER stress agents comprising expressing an antisense agent that inhibits expression of ABC50 in the cell.

In an embodiment, the antisense agent is a siRNA, shRNA or an antisense oligonucleotide.

In a further embodiment, the shRNA comprises SEQ ID NO: 3 or 4.

In an embodiment, the ER stress agent is selected from EC, thapsigargin and tunicamycin.

Another aspect provides an isolated protein of interest produced according to a method described herein.

In an embodiment, the isolated protein produced according to a method described herein is an antibody or antibody fragment.

A further aspect provides an expression vector comprising a polynucleotide encoding an ABC50 polynucleotide and a polynucleotide comprising a protein of interest.

A further aspect relates to a cell comprising an expression vector described herein.

Yet a further aspect provides a cell comprising a heterologous ABC50 gene.

Another aspect relates to a composition comprising an isolated protein, vector or cell described herein.

Other features and advantages of the present disclosure will become apparent from the following detailed description. It should be understood, however, that the detailed description and the specific examples while indicating preferred embodiments of the disclosure are given by way of illustration only, since various changes and modifications within the spirit and scope of the disclosure will become apparent to those skilled in the art from this detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

An embodiment of the disclosure will now be discussed in relation to the drawings in which:

FIG. 1 Enhanced expression of ABC50 in Ec-resistant E2R2 cells. A: Reverse Northern analysis of genes identified by Differential Display as performed as described in Materials and Methods. Clone 002B, identified in this analysis as having increased expression was sequenced and found to be the ABC50 gene. B: Western blot of ABC50 in HL60 vs E2R2 cells. Actin expression was also evaluated to allow normalization between the two samples.

FIG. 2 ABC50 knockdown partially reverses resistance to Ec in E2R2 cells. A: Western blot of ABC50 expression in E2R2 cells infected with vector control or ABC50 shRNA. B: Apoptosis induction by Ec in E2R2 vector control and ABC50 knockdown cells. Cells were exposed to 15 μM Ec for 2 hours followed by overnight recovery as described in Materials and Methods. The following day, cells were stained with PI and AnnexinV and analysed by flow cytometry. AnnexinV positive, PI negative cells represent early apoptotic cells, AnnexinV positive, PI positive cells represent late apoptotic or necrotic cells.

FIG. 3 ABC50 knockdown alters growth rate and sensitivity to Ec in HL60 cells. A: Western blot of ABC50 expression in HL60 cells infected with vector control or ABC50 shRNA. B: Cell growth kinetics of control and ABC50 knocked-down cells. Values are means and standard errors determined from triplicate cultures and is representative measurement from a series of three independent experiments. ***indicates p<0.001 at 48 hours for ABC50 KD cells vs control. C: Apoptosis induction by serum withdrawal (SW), Ec, Tg, Tu and etoposide (Eto) in HL60 vector control and ABC50 knockdown cells. Cells were exposed to 15 μM Ec for 2 hours followed by overnight recovery as described in Materials and Methods. Cells were incubated overnight in the absence of serum, 200 nM Tg, 1 μM Tu or 5 μM etoposide. The following day, cells were stained with PI and AnnexinV and analysed by flow cytometry. AnnexinV positive, PI negative cells represent early apoptotic cells, AnnexinV positive, PI positive cells represent late apoptotic or necrotic cells. Plotted is early and late apoptotic cells combined. *p<0.05, **p<0.01 comparing knockdown or overexpressing cells to their vector control.

FIG. 4 Effect of ABC50 overexpression on growth rate and sensitivity to ER stress agents in HL60 cells. A: Western blot of ABC50 expression in HL60 cells infected with vector control or ABC50 OE vector. B: Cell growth kinetics of control and ABC50 overexpressing cells. Values are means and standard errors determined from triplicate cultures and is representative measurement from a series of three independent experiments. C: Apoptosis induction by serum withdrawal (SW), Ec, Tg, Tu and etoposide (Eto) in HL60 vector control and ABC50 overexpressing cells. Cells were exposed to 15 μM Ec for 2 hours followed by overnight recovery as described in Materials and Methods. Cells were incubated overnight in the absence of serum, 200 nM Tg, 1 μM Tu or 5 μM etoposide. The following day, cells were stained with PI and AnnexinV and analysed by flow cytometry. AnnexinV positive, PI negative cells represent early apoptotic cells, AnnexinV positive, PI positive cells represent late apoptotic or necrotic cells. Plotted is early and late apoptotic cells combined. *p<0.05, **p<0.01 comparing knockdown or overexpressing cells to their vector control.

FIG. 5 Effect of ABC50 knockdown or overexpression on ER Ca2+ stores and influx in HL60 cells. HL60 cells were loaded with the Ca2+-sensitive dye Indo-1 as described in Materials and Methods. Cells were incubated (or not) in 5 mM Ni2+ to non-specifically block all Ca2+ influx and then exposed to thapsigargin to release ER Ca2+ and stimulate Ca2+ influx. Cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels were followed over time. Tg releases ER Ca2+ in all cases but subsequent store-operated Ca2+ influx is blocked in cells pre-incubated with Ni2+. A: HL60 cells infected with vector control or ABC50 shRNA treated with Tg. B: HL60 cells infected with vector control or ABC50 shRNA pre-incubated in Ni2+ to block influx, and then treated with Tg. C: HL60 cells infected with vector control or ABC50 overexpressing virus treated with Tg. D: HL60 cells infected with vector control or ABC50 overexpressing virus pre-incubated in Ni2+ to block influx, and then treated with Tg.

FIG. 6. ABC50 knockdown or overexpression alters the ER stress response. Vector controls, knockdown (A, B) or overexpressing cells (C, D) were exposed to Ec (15 μM), Tg (200 nM) or Tu (200 ng/ml) for 60 minutes. The cells were collected, lysed in RIPA buffer, resolved by SDS-PAGE and analysed with anti-sera specific for A, C: ser51-phosphorylated eIF2α or total eIF2α, B, D: BiP or actin. Numbers represent relative expression levels compared to control normalized to either total eIF2α or actin. The blots are representative of two independent experiments.

FIG. 7 Effect of ABC50 knockdown or overexpression on ribosomal RNA and Protein content. Ribosomes were purified as described in the Materials and Methods. A: Total ribosomal proteins obtained from 2 independent cultures and extractions were analyzed by electrophoresis on a 12% SDS-PAGE gel. The gel was then stained with Coomassie Brilliant Blue to visualize the protein bands. B: rRNA and rProtein content as measured by absorbance.

FIG. 8 Effect of ABC50 knockdown or overexpression on global protein synthesis. Cells were incubated with 15 μM Ec for 15 minutes, pulse-labelled with 3H-leucine and incorporation was measured as described in Materials and Methods. A: Vector control vs ABC50 knock-down. B: Vector control vs ABC50 overexpression. The values are averages and standard errors from 4 replicates. This experiment was repeated six times. *p<0.05, **p<0.01 comparing knockdown or overexpressing cells to their vector control.

FIG. 9 ABC50 overexpression increases IgG production in hybridoma GK1.5. A: GK1.5 cells were infected with empty vector control or ABC50 overexpressing virus, then sorted for GFP expression. GFP expression levels were measured by flow cytometry. B: Control or ABC50 overexpressing cells were seeded at 1×106 cells/ml, cultured for 24 hours, the cells were pelleted, lysed in RIPA buffer with protease inhibitors and cell lysates were resolved by SDS-PAGE and blotted with rabbit anti-sera specific for heavy and light chains. H: antibody heavy chain, L: antibody light chain. The numbers in brackets represent the ratio of band intensities (as determined by densitometry) for ABC50 overexpressing vs control. The ratio is the average of three independent measurements. C: Cell supernatants were collected at 24 and 48 hours and IgG levels were measured by ELISA. The values are averages of two determinations. This experiment was repeated three times. *p<0.05 comparing overexpressing cells to their vector control.

FIG. 10. Generation of Ec-resistant sp2 cells. Sp2 cells were exposed to increasing concentrations of Econazole. Cells remaining after treatment were expanded and subjected to additional rounds of selection. A: cell viability for unselected (U) and selected (S) cells. Exposure to Econazole was for 2 hours in low serum medium, followed by a recovery period of 24 hours in full growth medium. Cells were exposed to Thapsigargin (Tg) and Tunicamycin (Tu) overnight. Cell viability was determined by Trypan Blue staining of 200 cells. B: Western blot of ABC50 expression in sp2 cells selected for resistance to Ec showing increased expression. C: Quantitation of expression normalized to actin. **p<0.01, ***p<0.001 comparing selected vs unselected.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

I. Definitions

The term “ABC50” also known as ABCF1 refers to a member of the ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) family of proteins which lacks a transmembrane domain and includes for example human ABC50 with accession number AF027302 (SEQ ID NO:1)1, mouse ABC50 (e.g. SEQ ID NO:5), rat ABC50 with accession number AF293383 (SEQ ID NO:2) (see for example, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?Db=gene&Cmd=ShowDetailView&Term ToSearch=85493&ordinalpos=3&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Gene.Gene_Res ultsPanel.Gene_RVDocSum), as well as yeast homologs yeast elongation factor 3 (YEF3 Accession number NC001144 geneID:850951) and GCN20 (Accession number NC001138, geneID:850561). Other homologs are also contemplated including other mammalian homologs, including but not limited to mouse (SEQ ID NO:5; Accession number NM013854), hamster, including Chinese hamster ABC50 and insect homologs. Species homologs can be identified for example using Blast basic local alignment search tool. In a preferred embodiment, the ABC50 is human ABC50.

The term “activity of an ABC50 protein” as used herein means a protein synthesis increasing activity of ABC50 protein (e.g. protein synthesis increasing activity) which may be mediated for example by increasing translation initiation complex formation between eIF2, GTP and/or Met-tRNA and/or by binding to eIF2.

The term “Econozole” or Ec refers to an antifungal agent of the imidazole class having IUPAC name 1-[2-[(4-chlorophenyl)methoxy]-2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)ethyl]-1H-imidazole, formula C18H15Cl3N2O and sold for example with brand names Spectazole™ (US), Ecostatin™ (Canada) and Pevaryl™ (Western Europe), Endix-G™ (Asia) Ecosone™ (Thailand).

The term “antibody” as used herein is intended to include monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, and chimeric antibodies as well as surface immunoglobulins. The antibody is optionally mammalian, murine, chimeric, humanized, primatized, primate, or human and can be a single chain antibody or multichain antibody. The antibody may be from recombinant sources and/or produced in transgenic animals.

The term “antibody fragment” as used herein is intended to include Fab, Fab′, F(ab′)2, scFv, dsFv, ds-scFv, dimers, minibodies, diabodies, and multimers thereof and bispecific antibody fragments. Antibodies can be fragmented using conventional techniques. For example, F(ab′)2 fragments can be generated by treating the antibody with pepsin. The resulting F(ab′)2 fragment can be treated to reduce disulfide bridges to produce Fab′ fragments. Papain digestion can lead to the formation of Fab fragments. Fab, Fab′ and F(ab′)2, scFv, dsFv, ds-scFv, dimers, minibodies, diabodies, bispecific antibody fragments and other fragments can also be synthesized by recombinant techniques.

The term “cell” as used in methods for expressing a protein of interest or increasing expression of a protein of interest refers to an eukaryotic cell, for example a yeast cell, fungi, plant cell or mammalian cell, and also includes a fused cell such as hybridoma cell.

The term “a cell” includes a single cell as well as a plurality or population of cells. Contacting a cell or administering a composition to a cell includes in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro contact.

The term “protein” as used herein refers to a molecule comprised of amino acid residues, including for example single chain polypeptides, as well as a single chain of a multichain protein, multichain proteins such as traditional antibodies, recombinant polypeptides including for example fusion proteins, tagged proteins, mutant proteins and fragments, typically active fragments, of full length proteins. Protein and polypeptide are herein used interchangeably.

The term “protein of interest” refers to a protein being produced or whose expression is sought to be produced, by a method or process described herein, and includes for example but is not limited to therapeutic proteins such as cytokines, growth factors such as insulin, coagulation factors, vaccine subunits and therapeutic enzymes, and antibodies or fragments thereof, including recombinant or natural proteins.

The term “antibody of interest” refers to an antibody or antibody fragment being produced or whose expression is sought to be produced, by a method or process disclosed herein. For example, the antibody of interest can be an antibody produced by a hybridoma whose expression is sought to be increased by ABC50 overexpression.

The term “isolated protein” refers to a protein substantially free of cellular material or culture medium when produced by recombinant DNA techniques, or chemical precursors or other chemicals when chemically synthesized.

A “conservative amino acid substitution” as used herein, is one in which one amino acid residue is replaced with another amino acid residue without abolishing the protein's desired properties.

The phrase “conservative substitution” also includes the use of a chemically derivatized residue in place of a non-derivatized residue provided that such polypeptide displays the requisite activity.

In the context of a polypeptide, the term “derivative” as used herein refers to a polypeptide having one or more residues chemically derivatized by reaction of a functional side group. Such derivatized molecules include for example, those molecules in which free amino groups have been derivatized to form amine hydrochlorides, p-toluene sulfonyl groups, carbobenzoxy groups, t-butyloxycarbonyl groups, chloroacetyl groups or formyl groups. Free carboxyl groups may be derivatized to form salts, methyl and ethyl esters or other types of esters or hydrazides. Free hydroxyl groups may be derivatized to form O-acyl or O-alkyl derivatives. The imidazole nitrogen of histidine may be derivatized to form N-im-benzylhistidine. Also included as derivatives are those peptides which contain one or more naturally occurring amino acid derivatives of the twenty standard amino acids. For examples: 4-hydroxyproline may be substituted for proline; 5 hydroxylysine may be substituted for lysine; 3-methylhistidine may be substituted for histidine; homoserine may be substituted for serine; and ornithine may be substituted for lysine.

The term “polynucleotide” or alternatively “nucleic acid molecule” as used herein refers to a linked series of nucleoside or nucleotide monomers consisting of naturally occurring bases, sugars and intersugar (backbone) linkages, including for example cDNA, vectors and recombinant polynucleotides. The term also includes modified or substituted sequences comprising non-naturally occurring monomers or portions thereof, which function similarly. Such modified or substituted nucleic acid molecules may be preferred over naturally occurring forms because of properties such as enhanced cellular uptake, or increased stability in the presence of nucleases. The term also includes chimeric nucleic acid molecules that contain two or more chemically distinct regions. For example, chimeric nucleic acid molecules may contain at least one region of modified nucleotides that confer beneficial properties (e.g. increased nuclease resistance, increased uptake into cells), or two or more nucleic acid molecules described herein may be joined to form a chimeric nucleic acid molecule. The polynucleotides may be deoxyribonucleic acid sequences (DNA) or ribonucleic acid sequences (RNA) and may include naturally occurring bases including adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymidine and uracil. The sequences may also contain modified bases. Examples of such modified bases include aza and deaza adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymidine and uracil; and xanthine and hypoxanthine. Also, the term “nucleic acid” can be either double stranded or single stranded, and represents the sense or antisense strand. Further, the term “nucleic acid” includes the complementary nucleic acid sequences.

The term “isolated polynucleotide” and/or alternatively “isolated nucleic acid molecule” as used herein refers to a nucleic acid substantially free of cellular material or culture medium when produced by recombinant DNA techniques, or chemical precursors, or other chemicals when chemically synthesized. An isolated polynucleotide is also substantially free of residues which naturally flank the nucleic acid (i.e. residues located at the 5′ and 3′ ends of the nucleic acid) from which the nucleic acid is derived.

The term “complementary” in reference to a nucleic acid as used herein refers to the property of a double stranded nucleic acid including DNA and RNA and DNA:RNA hybrids to base-pair according to the standard Watson-Crick complementary rules, e.g. the capacity to hybridize to a particular nucleic acid segment under stringent conditions and/or to a nucleic acid single stand that has this property e.g. is complementary to a specific nucleic acid or portion thereof.

By “stringent hybridization conditions” it is meant that conditions are selected which promote selective hybridization between two complementary nucleic acid molecules in solution. Hybridization may occur to all or a portion of a nucleic acid sequence molecule. The hybridizing portion is typically at least 15 (e.g. 20, 25, 30, 40 or 50) nucleotides in length. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the stability of a nucleic acid duplex, or hybrids, is determined by the Tm, which in sodium containing buffers is a function of the sodium ion concentration and temperature (Tm=81.5° C.−16.6 (Log 10 [Na+])+0.41(% (G+C)−600/I), or similar equation). Accordingly, the parameters in the wash conditions that determine hybrid stability are sodium ion concentration and temperature. In order to identify molecules that are similar, but not identical, to a known nucleic acid molecule a 1% mismatch may be assumed to result in about a 1° C. decrease in Tm, for example if nucleic acid molecules are sought that have a >95% identity, the final wash temperature will be reduced by about 5° C. Based on these considerations those skilled in the art will be able to readily select appropriate hybridization conditions. In preferred embodiments, stringent hybridization conditions are selected. By way of example the following conditions may be employed to achieve stringent hybridization: hybridization at 5× sodium chloride/sodium citrate (SSC)/5×Denhardt's solution/1.0% SDS at Tm−5° C. based on the above equation, followed by a wash of 0.2×SSC/0.1% SDS at 60° C. Moderately stringent hybridization conditions include a washing step in 3×SSC at 42° C. It is understood, however, that equivalent stringencies may be achieved using alternative buffers, salts and temperatures. Additional guidance regarding hybridization conditions may be found in: Current Protocols in Molecular Biology, John Wiley & Sons, N.Y., 2002, and in: Sambrook et al., Molecular Cloning: a Laboratory Manual, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2001.

The term “control cell” as used herein refers a cell that does not have increased expression of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

The term “fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity” in reference to ABC50 refers to a portion of ABC50 that retains the ability to increase protein synthesis for example, by at least 5%, at least 10% or more, for example by stimulating translation initiation complex formation between eIF2, GTP and/or Met-tRNA and/or binding to eIF2.

The term “fragment thereof having eIF2 binding activity” in relation to ABC50 refers to an active fragment of ABC50 that binds ABC50 and retains the ability to increase protein synthesis.

The terms “transformed with”, “transfected with”, “transformation” “transduced” and “transfection” are intended to encompass introduction of nucleic acid (e.g. a vector) into a cell by a variety of techniques known in the art. The term “transformed cell” as used herein is intended to also include cells capable of glycosylation that have been transformed with a recombinant expression vector disclosed herein.

The term “antisense agent” as used herein means a nucleotide polynucleotide that comprises a sequence of residues that is complementary to and binds a target RNA and decreases translation of its target RNA. For example, “antisense agents” include antisense oligonucleotides, as well as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs). The nucleic acid can comprise DNA, RNA or a chemical analog, that binds to the messenger RNA produced by the target gene. Binding of the antisense agent presents translation and thereby inhibits or reduces target protein expression.

The term “siRNA” refers to a short inhibitory RNA duplex that can be used to silence gene expression of a specific gene by RNA interference (RNAi). A person skilled in the art will understand that RNAi technology uses paired oligonucleotides. Wherein a single strand sequence is identified by SEQ ID NO, a person skilled in the art using the rules of base pairing will readily determine the appropriate corresponding oligonucleotide.

The term “shRNA” refers to a short hairpin RNA. Typically shRNAs are approximately about 50, 60 or 70 nucleotides long, or any number in between, for example 54 nucleotides long and can give to miRNAs. The term “miRNA” refers to microRNAs which are single stranded RNAs, for example 22 nucleotides, that are processed from hairpin RNA precursors, for example about 50, 60 or 70 nucleotides long. miRNAs can inhibit gene expression through targeting homologous mRNAs. siRNAs and shRNAs activate a cellular degradation pathway directed at mRNAs corresponding to the siRNA or shRNA. Methods of designing specific siRNA and shRNA molecules and administering them are described herein and known to a person skilled in the art. For example siRNAs can comprise two 21-23 nucleotide strands forming a double stranded RNA molecule, wherein one strand is complementary to a target region in a gene of interest (e.g. comprises a sense strand homologous to the target mRNA). It is known in the art that efficient silencing is obtained with siRNA duplex complexes paired to have a two nucleotide 3′ overhang. Adding two thymidine nucleotides is thought to add nuclease resistance. A person skilled in the art will recognize that other nucleotides can also be added.

The term “subject”, as used herein includes all members of the animal kingdom, especially mammals, including human. The subject or patient is suitably a human.

II. Methods

ABC50 is a member of the ATP binding cassette protein family. Biochemically, ABC50 stimulates the formation of translation initiation complexes between eIF2, GTP and Met-tRNA implicating it in translation initiation and control for both Cap-dependent and -independent translation. Econazole (Ec) is an imidazole anti-fungal that induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in mammalian cells by promoting ER Ca2+ depletion and sustained inhibition of protein synthesis. A previous characterization of HL60 cells selected for resistance to Ec found that the cells exhibited a phenotype of multi-drug resistance associated specifically with ER stress inducers. Differential Display Analysis of these cells identified ABC50 as a gene overexpressed in resistant cells. A similar selection process applied to sp2 cells also resulted in ER stress resistance and ABC50 overexpression. Knockdown of ABC50 in HL60 cells increased sensitivity to Ec in both parental HL60 and an Ec-resistant variant. ABC50 also altered sensitivity to the ER stress agents thapsigargin and tunicamycin. ABC50 knockdown increased ER Ca2+ stores and thapsigargin-stimulated influx. Knockdown significantly suppressed protein synthesis levels while overexpression increased them. ABC50 overexpression also increased antibody production in the hybridoma GK1.5 indicating that ABC50 overexpression is useful for the overproduction of specific proteins. Taken together, these results indicate that ABC50 modulates sensitivity to Ec and other ER stress agents primarily through its effects on protein synthesis.

Accordingly, an aspect of the disclosure provides a method of producing a protein of interest comprising effecting expression of the protein of interest in a cell comprising an increased expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity.

In an embodiment, the method comprises increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity in a cell; and effecting the expression of the protein of interest.

In another embodiment, the method comprises effecting expression of the protein of interest in a cell comprising an increased expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having eIF2 binding activity.

In yet another embodiment, the method comprises increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having eiF2 binding activity; and effecting the expression of the protein of interest.

In an embodiment, the protein of interest is a heterologous protein.

Accordingly, in an embodiment, the method comprises producing a heterologous protein of interest comprises effecting expression of the protein of interest in a cell comprising an increased expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

In another embodiment, the method comprises producing a heterologous protein of interest comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity; and effecting the expression of the protein of interest.

In an embodiment, the protein of interest is produced by a cell.

In an embodiment, the protein of interest is an antibody or antibody fragment.

Accordingly, another aspect includes a method of producing an antibody (e.g. an antibody of interest) or fragment thereof by a cell capable of expressing an antibody or fragment thereof comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity in the cell.

In an embodiment, the method comprises effecting expression of the antibody or fragment thereof in a cell comprising an increased expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

In an embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased by expressing a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide encoding an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof wherein the ABC50 polynucleotide is operatively linked to a promoter.

Effecting expression can for example be accomplished by culturing a cell under conditions suitable for protein expression, including for example culturing the cell at a growth permissive temperature, in a suitable culture medium, a sufficient time etc. that depend for example on the cell and desired expression level.

Another aspect relates to a method of increasing expression of a heterologous protein of interest by a cell expressing the protein of interest, comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity, wherein the increased expression or activity of the ABC50 protein or fragment increases the expression of the heterologous protein. In an embodiment, the method comprises introducing a polynucleotide encoding the heterologous protein and/or introducing a polynucleotide encoding the ABC50 protein or fragment into the cell, for example by transfection, transduction or infection.

In an embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased and the expression of the protein of interest is effected by introducing a polynucleotide encoding the ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof, and a polynucleotide encoding the protein of interest, wherein the polynucleotides are operatively linked to one or more promoters and optionally comprised in one or more vectors.

A further aspect relates to a method of increasing expression of an antibody or fragment thereof in a cell expressing or capable of expressing the antibody or fragment of interest, comprising increasing the expression or activity of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

Cells capable of producing antibodies and/or fragments thereof may be prepared using techniques known in the art such as those described by Kohler and Milstein, Nature 256, 495 (1975) and in U.S. Pat. Nos. RE 32,011; 4,902,614; 4,543,439; and 4,411,993, which are incorporated herein by reference. (See also Monoclonal Antibodies, Hybridomas: A New Dimension in Biological Analyses, Plenum Press, Kennett, McKearn, and Bechtol (eds.), 1980, and Antibodies: A Laboratory Manual, Harlow and Lane (eds.), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1988, which are also incorporated herein by reference). Within the context of the disclosure, antibodies are understood to include monoclonal antibodies, polyclonal antibodies, antibody fragments (e.g., Fab, and F(ab′)2) and recombinantly produced binding partners.

For producing monoclonal antibodies the technique involves hyperimmunization of an appropriate donor with the immunogen, generally a mouse, and isolation of splenic antibody producing cells. These cells are fused to a cell, having immortality, such as a myeloma cell, to provide a fused cell hybrid which has immortality and secretes the required antibody. The cells are then cultured, in bulk, and the monoclonal antibodies harvested from the culture media for use.

For producing recombinant antibodies (see generally Huston et al., 1991; Johnson and Bird, 1991; Mernaugh and Mernaugh, 1995), messenger RNAs from antibody producing B-lymphocytes of animals, or hybridoma are reverse-transcribed to obtain complimentary DNAs (CDNAs). Antibody cDNA, which can be full or partial length, is amplified and cloned into a phage or a plasmid. The cDNA can be a partial length of heavy and light chain cDNA, separated or connected by a linker. The antibody, or antibody fragment, is expressed using a suitable expression system to obtain recombinant antibody. Antibody cDNA can also be obtained by screening pertinent expression libraries.

As disclosed herein, ABC50 expression and/or activity can be increased by selecting for Econozole resistant cells. Accordingly, in another embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased by contacting the cell with increasing concentrations of Econozole (Ec), and detecting increased expression or activity of ABC50 protein. For example, Ec resistance can be induced by contacting the cell with a sufficient concentration of Econozole (Ec) to increase expression or activity of an ABC50 protein and selecting cells that maintain increased ABC50 expression and/or activity.

ABC50 expression and/or activity can be increased by introducing a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide into a cell that is expressed. Accordingly in another embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased by introducing a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide encoding ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof operatively linked to a promoter, into the cell.

In another embodiment, the cell already comprises a heterologous polynucleotide encoding the protein of interest operatively linked to a promoter.

In a further embodiment, polynucleotides encoding ABC50 and the protein or interest are cointroduced into a cell. Accordingly, in an embodiment, the expression or activity of ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof is increased and the expression of the protein of interest is effected by introducing a vector comprising a polynucleotide encoding ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof, and a heterologous polynucleotide of the protein of interest, wherein the polynucleotides are operatively linked to one or more promoters. For example, expression of two polynucleotides can be achieved using an internal ribosomal entry site (IRES).

The polynucleotides may be incorporated in a known manner into an appropriate expression vector, which ensures good expression of the polypeptides. Various constructs can be used. For example retroviral constructs such as lentiviral constructs are useful for expressing physiological levels of protein. Possible expression vectors include but are not limited to cosmids, plasmids, or modified viruses (e.g. replication defective retroviruses, adenoviruses and adeno-associated viruses), so long as the vector is compatible with the host cell used. The expression vectors are “suitable for transformation of a host cell”, which means that the expression vectors contain a nucleic acid molecule and regulatory sequences selected on the basis of the host cells to be used for expression, which is operatively linked to the nucleic acid molecule. Operatively linked is intended to mean that the nucleic acid is linked to regulatory sequences in a manner which allows expression of the nucleic acid.

The disclosure therefore includes use of a recombinant expression vector containing a polynucleotide molecule disclosed herein, or a fragment thereof, and the necessary regulatory sequences for the transcription and translation of the inserted protein-sequence.

Suitable regulatory sequences may be derived from a variety of sources, including bacterial, fungal, viral, mammalian, or insect genes (For example, see the regulatory sequences described in Goeddel, Gene Expression Technology: Methods in Enzymology 185, Academic Press, San Diego, Calif. (1990)). Selection of appropriate regulatory sequences is dependent on the host cell chosen as discussed below, and may be readily accomplished by one of ordinary skill in the art. Examples of such regulatory sequences include: a transcriptional promoter and enhancer or RNA polymerase binding sequence, a ribosomal binding sequence, including a translation initiation signal. Additionally, depending on the host cell chosen and the vector employed, other sequences, such as an origin of replication, additional DNA restriction sites, enhancers, and sequences conferring inducibility of transcription may be incorporated into the expression vector.

The recombinant expression vectors may also contain a selectable marker gene which facilitates the selection of host cells transformed or transfected with a recombinant molecule disclosed herein. Examples of selectable marker genes are genes encoding a protein such as G418 and hygromycin which confer resistance to certain drugs, β-galactosidase, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, firefly luciferase, or an immunoglobulin or portion thereof such as the Fc portion of an immunoglobulin preferably IgG. Transcription of the selectable marker gene is monitored by changes in the concentration of the selectable marker protein such as β-galactosidase, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, or firefly luciferase. If the selectable marker gene encodes a protein conferring antibiotic resistance such as neomycin resistance transformant cells can be selected with G418. Cells that have incorporated the selectable marker gene will survive, while the other cells die. This makes it possible to visualize and assay for expression of the recombinant expression vectors disclosed herein and in particular to determine the effect of a mutation on expression and phenotype. It will be appreciated that selectable markers can be introduced on a separate vector from the nucleic acid of interest.

Other selectable markers include for example, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and glutamine synthetase (GS) for examples for use in CHO of NS0 cells, respectively. Selection occurs in the absence of the metabolites e.g. glycine, hypoxanthine and thymidine for DHFR and glutamine for GS. Cells surviving selection comprise one or more copies of the transfected plasmid in the cell's genome. Further amplification of the copy number of the integrated DNA can be achieved by exposure of the selected cells to increasing levels of methotrexate (MTX) or methioninen sulphoximine (MSX) respectively 8. The recombinant expression vectors may also contain genes which encode a fusion moiety which provides increased expression of the recombinant protein; increased solubility of the recombinant protein; and aid in the purification of the target recombinant protein by acting as a ligand in affinity purification. For example, a proteolytic cleavage site may be added to the target recombinant protein to allow separation of the recombinant protein from the fusion moiety subsequent to purification of the fusion protein. Typical fusion expression vectors include pGEX (Amrad Corp., Melbourne, Australia), pMal (New England Biolabs, Beverly, Mass.) and pRIT5 (Pharmacia, Piscataway, N.J.) which fuse glutathione S-transferase (GST), maltose E binding protein, or protein A, respectively, to the recombinant protein.

Transcription of the protein of interest and/or ABC50 can be under the control of an inducible expression system. Accordingly, in an embodiment, effecting the expression of the protein of interest and/or ABC50 comprises contacting the cell with an inducer that induces expression of the protein of interest and/or ABC50. Examples of inducible expression systems include the Tet-on or Tet-off inducible expression systems.

Recombinant expression vectors can be introduced into host cells to produce a recombinant cell by one of many possible techniques known in the art. For example, a polynucleotide can be introduced by transforming a cell (e.g. electroporating a prokaryotic cell), transfecting a cell (e.g. using lipofectin) or transducing a cell (e.g. using a retrovirus). Prokaryotic cells can be transformed with a polynucleotide by, for example, electroporation or calcium-chloride mediated transformation. For example, polynucleotide can be introduced into mammalian cells via conventional techniques such as calcium phosphate or calcium chloride co-precipitation, DEAE-dextran mediated transfection, lipofectin, electroporation or microinjection. Suitable methods for transforming and transfecting host cells can be found in Sambrook et al. (Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 3rd Edition, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2001), and other laboratory textbooks.

In other embodiments, the cells are optionally transduced with retroviral constructs that drive expression of ABC50 and/or the protein or antibody of interest. Methods of transducing cells are well known in the art. Methods of transducing/infecting cells with lentiviral vectors are also described herein.

Different ABC50 proteins can be used with the methods disclosed herein. For example, human ABC50, rat ABC50 and/or yeast ABC50 homolog can be used. Also, the ABC50 protein employed is optionally, the same species as the cell in which it is expressed (e.g. human ABC50, and human cell). Alternatively, the ABC50 protein employed is from a different species from the cell (e.g. human ABC50, yeast cell). Nucleic acids encoding human ABC50 were utilized in transfection/transduction experiments described herein and mouse Sp2 cells were treated with Ec selection. Ec selection of mouse Sp2 resulted in increased ABC50 expression as described indicating that different ABC50 molecules (e.g. proteins and nucleic acids) are useful in the methods of the disclosure. Mus musculus sequence is for example 88% identical and 91% similar to human ABC50 according to a BLAST comparison.

In an embodiment, the ABC50 protein comprises SEQ ID NO: 1, 2 or 5; or a protein with at least 85%, 88%, 90%, 95%, 99% or 99.5% sequence identity with SEQ ID NO:1, 2 or 5.

In an embodiment, the ABC50 polynucleotide comprises SEQ ID NO:6, 7 or 8; or a polynucleotide with at least 85%, 88%, 90%, 95%, 99% or 99.5% sequence identity with SEQ ID NO:6, 7 or 8.

In an embodiment, the method results in increased specific cellular expression and/or production of the protein of interest in comparison to a control cell expressing the protein of interest wherein the control cell does not have increased expression (e.g. has wildtype levels) of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis increasing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

In an embodiment, the method results in increased specific cellular expression and/or production of the antibody of interest in comparison to a control cell expressing the antibody of interest wherein the control cell does not have increased expression of an ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having protein synthesis inducing activity and/or eIF2 binding activity.

In an embodiment, the increase in expression and/or production of the protein or antibody of interest is about 5% to about 10%, about 11% to about 20%, about 31% to about 40%, about 41% to about 50%, 51% to about 60%, 61% to about 70%, 71% to about 80%, about 81% to about 90%, about 91% to about 100%, about 150% to about 199%, about 200% to about 299%, about 300% to about 499%, or about 500% to about 1000%. In an embodiment, the increase is at least 5%. In another embodiment, the increase is at least 10%.

The level of ABC50 protein and/or fragment expression and/or activity is increased for example by an amount sufficient to increase expression of the protein of interest. The increase in ABC50 protein or active fragment thereof expression or activity is in an embodiment, about 5% to about 10%, about 11% to about 20%, about 31% to about 40%, about 41% to about 50%, 51% to about 60%, 61% to about 70%, 71% to about 80%, about 81% to about 90%, about 91% to about 100%, about 150% to about 199%, about 200% to about 299%, about 300% to about 499%, or about 500% to about 1000%. In an embodiment, the increase in ABC50 protein or active fragment thereof expression or activity is at least 10%, at least 20%, at least 30% at least 40%, at least 50%, at least 60%, at least 65% or at least 70%.

Suitable host cells include a wide variety of prokaryotic and eukaryotic host cells. For example, the polynucleotides and constructs that encode proteins or antibodies of interest may be expressed in bacterial cells such as E. coli. Other suitable host cells can be found in Goeddel (Goeddel, Gene Expression Technology Methods in Enzymology 185, Academic Press, San Diego, Calif. 1990).

More particularly, bacterial host cells suitable for carrying out the present disclosure include E. coli, B. subtilis, Salmonella typhimurium, and various species within the genus Pseudomonas, Streptomyces, and Staphylococcus, as well as many other bacterial species well known to one of ordinary skill in the art. Suitable bacterial vectors preferably comprise a promoter which functions in the host cell, one or more selectable phenotypic markers, and a bacterial origin of replication. Representative promoters include the β-lactamase (penicillinase) and lactose promoter system (see Chang et al. Chang et al., Nature 275:615 (1978)), the trp promoter (Nichols and Yanofsky, Meth. in Enzymology 101:155, 1983) and the tac promoter (Russell et al., Gene 20: 231, 1982). Representative selectable markers include various antibiotic resistance markers such as the kanamycin or ampicillin resistance genes. Suitable expression vectors include but are not limited to bacteriophages such as lambda derivatives or plasmids such as pBR322 (see Bolivar et al. (Bolivar et al., Gene 2:9 S, 1977)), the pUC plasmids pUC18, pUC19, pUC118, pUC119 (see Messing (Messing, Meth in Enzymology 101:20-77, 1983) and Vieira and Messing (Vieira and Messing, Gene 19:259-268 (1982)), and pNH8A, pNH16a, pNH18a, and Bluescript M13 (Stratagene, La Jolla, Calif.). Typical fusion expression vectors which may be used are discussed above, e.g. pGEX (Amrad Corp., Melbourne, Australia), pMAL (New England Biolabs, Beverly, Mass.) and pRIT5 (Pharmacia, Piscataway, N.J.). Examples of inducible non-fusion expression vectors include pTrc (Amann et al., Gene 69:301-315 (1988)) and pET 11d (Studier et al., Gene Expression Technology: Methods in Enzymology 185, Academic Press, San Diego, Calif., 60-89 (1990)).

The protein of interest can be expressed in any eukaryotic cell, including but not limited to insect cells (using baculovirus), yeast cells or mammalian cells. Yeast and fungi host cells suitable for use include, but are not limited to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the genera Pichia or Kluyveromyces and various species of the genus Aspergillus. Examples of vectors for expression in yeast S. cerivisiae include pYepSec1 (Baldari et al., Embo J. 6:229-234 (1987)), pMFa (Kurjan and Herskowitz, Cell 30:933-943 (1982)), pJRY88 (Schultz et al., Gene 54:113-123 (1987)), and pYES2 (Invitrogen Corporation, San Diego, Calif.). Protocols for the transformation of yeast and fungi are well known to those of ordinary skill in the art (see Hinnen et al. (Hinnen et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 75:1929 (1978)); Itoh et al. (Itoh et al., J. Bacteriology 153:163 (1983)), and Cullen et al. (Cullen et al. Bio/Technology 5:369 (1987)).

Mammalian cells suitable for use include, among others:HL60, COS (e.g., ATCC No. CRL 1650 or 1651), BHK (e.g. ATCC No. CRL 6281), CHO (ATCC No. CCL 61), HeLa (e.g., ATCC No. CCL 2), 293 (ATCC No. 1573) and NS-1 cells. Suitable expression vectors for directing expression in mammalian cells generally include a promoter (e.g., derived from viral material such as polyoma, Adenovirus 2, cytomegalovirus and Simian Virus 40), as well as other transcriptional and translational control sequences. Examples of mammalian expression vectors include pCDM8 (36) and pMT2PC (Kaufman et al., EMBO J. 6:187-195 (1987)).

Given the teachings provided herein, promoters, terminators, and methods for introducing expression vectors of an appropriate type into plant, avian, and insect cells may also be readily accomplished. For example, within one embodiment, the polypeptides disclosed herein may be expressed from plant cells (see Sinkar et al., J. Biosci (Bangalore) 11:47-58 (1987), which reviews the use of Agrobacterium rhizogenes vectors; see also Zambryski et al., Genetic Engineering, Principles and Methods, Hollaender and Setlow (eds.), Vol. VI, pp. 253-278, Plenum Press, New York (1984), which describes the use of expression vectors for plant cells, including, among others, PAPS2022, PAPS2023, and PAPS2034).

Suitable insect cells include cells and cell lines from Bombyx, Trichoplusia or Spodotera species. Baculovirus vectors available for expression of proteins in cultured insect cells (SF 9 cells) include the pAc series (Smith et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 3:2156-2165 (1983)) and the pVL series (Luckow, V. A., and Summers, M.D., Virology 170:31-39 (1989).

Alternatively, proteins and antibodies of interest may also be expressed in non-human transgenic animals such as rats, rabbits, sheep and pigs (Hammer et al. Nature 315:680-683 (1985); Palmiter et al. Science 222:809-814 (1983); Brinster et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 82:4438-4442 (1985); Palmiter and Brinster Cell 41:343-345 (1985) and U.S. Pat. No. 4,736,866).

Accordingly, in an embodiment protein of interest is expressed by a eukaryotic cell. In an embodiment, the eukaryotic cell is selected from a yeast, plant, worm, insect, avian, fish, reptile and mammalian cell. In an embodiment, the cell is a mammalian cell. In another embodiment, the mammalian cell is a myeloma cell, a spleen cell, or a hybridoma cell producing a specific antibody. In a further embodiment, the cell is a Sp2, a NS0, a CHO, a Per.c6, a L cell. In a further embodiment, the mammalian cell is a leukemia cell, such as HL-60. In the case of increasing expression of an antibody or fragment thereof, the ABC50 protein or activity level can be increased in one or both the hybridoma fusion partners and/or in the fused hybridoma cell. In another embodiment, the hybridoma cell is GK1.5. In a further embodiment, the cell is an Ec resistant cell. In another embodiment, the cell is an Ec resistant Sp2 cell, NS0, CHO, Per.c6, or L cell. In an embodiment, the cell is a suspension culture adapted CHO cell. In a further embodiment, the Ec resistant Sp2 cell is fused to an antibody producing spleen cell. In an embodiment, the cell is not a HEK-293 cell.

A person skilled in the art will recognize that hybridomas expressing different monoclonal antibodies can be used and/or made using the methods of the disclosure.

In an embodiment, the protein of interest or antibody of interest is a secreted protein, an intracellular protein, or a membrane protein. In an embodiment, the protein of interest is a secreted protein.

Examples are provided for example in Hacker et al BioPharm International incorporated herein by reference 8. In an embodiment, the protein of interest is an antibody or antibody fragment or derivative thereof. For example, yeast cells and plant cells have been engineered to produce recombinant proteins such as recombinant monoclonal antibodies (for example see Nature Protocols 1, 755-768 (2006); Hiatt A, Ma J, Lehner T and Mostov K. Method for producing immunoglobulins containing protection proteins in plants and their use 2004 U.S. Pat. No. 6,303,341; Hein M, Hiatt A and Ma J. Transgenic crops expressing assembled secretory antibodies 2006 U.S. Pat. No. 6,995,014; Ma J K, Lehner T, Stabila P, Fux Cl and Hiatt A. Assembly of monoclonal antibodies with IgG1 and IgA heavy chain domains in transgenic tobacco plants. Eur J. Immunol. 1994 January; 24(1):131-8; Ma J K, Hiatt A, Hein M, Vine N D, Wang F, Stabila P, van Dolleweerd C, Mostov K and Lehner T. Generation and assembly of secretory antibodies in plants. Science 1995, 268(5211), 716-9; Ma J K, Hikmat B Y, Wycoff K, Vine N D, Chargelegue D, Yu L, Hein M B and Lehner T. Characterization of a recombinant plant monoclonal secretory antibody and preventive immunotherapy in humans. Nat. Med. 1998, 4(5), 601-6, each of which are herein incorporated by reference).

In an embodiment, the antibody is monoclonal, polyclonal, mammalian, murine, chimeric, humanized, primatized, primate, or human.

In an embodiment, the antibody is a fragment or derivative thereof selected from antibody immunoglobulin light chain, immunoglobulin heavy chain, immunoglobulin light and heavy chains, Fab, F(ab′)2, Fc, Fc-Fc fusion proteins, Fv, single chain Fv, single domain Fv, tetravalent single chain Fv, disulfide-linked Fv, domain deleted, minibody, diabody, a fusion protein of one of the above fragments with another peptide or protein or Fc-peptide fusion.

The antibody is in an embodiment, an IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD or IgE antibody. In a preferred embodiment, the antibody is an IgG antibody. In a further embodiment, the antibody is IgG such as IgG1, IgG2, IgG3 or IgG4.

In another embodiment, the method further comprises isolating the protein of interest or the antibody of interest.

A variety of methods are known for isolating proteins and antibodies. The method of isolation chosen can be affected by whether the protein is secreted, membrane bound or intracellular. In an embodiment, wherein the protein or antibody of interest is secreted, for example into a culture medium, the method further comprising isolating the secreted protein or secreted antibody of interest, for example from the culture supernatant. For example, the culture supernatant is collected and optionally fractionated. In another embodiment, wherein the protein or antibody of interest is intracellular, the method further comprising pelleting and/or lysing the cell and isolating the intracellular protein or antibody of interest. In an embodiment, wherein the protein or antibody of interest is membrane or surface bound, the method further comprising solubilizing the cell membrane and isolating the membrane protein or surface antibody of interest. For example for antibodies, binding to antigen can be used to isolate antibodies. The most common method is protein A columns. Other methods of purification include ammonium sulphate precipitation, ion exchange, gel filtration and hydrophobic interaction columns.

The disclosure also provides a process comprising the methods or aspects described herein. Accordingly, another aspect provides a process for the production of a protein of interest comprising: culturing a cell under suitable culture conditions (e.g. temperature, ambient environment, culture medium, length of time etc), wherein the cell produces the protein or antibody of interest, increasing the expression or activity of a ABC50 protein or a fragment thereof having eIF2 binding activity sufficiently to enhance protein production; culturing the cell until the protein of interest accumulates, and isolating the protein of interest. The protein of interest is an embodiment, a heterologous protein.

Another aspect provides a process for the production of a protein of interest comprising: culturing a cell, wherein the cell comprises an expression vector that encodes the protein of interest and an expression vector that encodes a ABC50 protein, under suitable culture conditions (e.g. temperature, ambient environment, culture medium etc) that permit expression of the protein of interest and the ABC50 protein; culturing the cell until the protein of interest accumulates and isolating the protein of interest.

As mentioned previously, in an embodiment protein of interest is an antibody or fragment thereof.

In an embodiment, the cell is a hybridoma cell and/or a hybridoma fusion partner.

It is also disclosed herein that decreasing ABC50 levels can be useful. Accordingly, another aspect provides a method of decreasing ABC50 levels in a cell comprising expressing an antisense agent that inhibits expression of ABC50 in the cell.

For example, decreasing ABC50 levels increases sensitivity to ER stress agents. Accordingly, another aspect provides a method of increasing sensitivity of a cell to ER stress agents comprising expressing an antisense agent that inhibits expression of ABC50 in the cell.

In an embodiment, the antisense agent is a siRNA, shRNA or an antisense oligonucleotide. In an embodiment, the antisense agent comprises SEQ ID NO:3. In another embodiment, the antisense agent comprises SEQ ID NO:4. The shRNA is in an embodiment, comprised in a lentiviral vector or virus.

In an embodiment, the shRNA comprises SEQ ID NO: 3 or 4.

In an embodiment, the decrease in ABC50 level is about 10% to about 20%, about 21% to about 30%, about 31% to about 40%, about 41% to about 50%, 51% to about 60%, 61% to about 70%, 71% to about 80%, 81% to about 90% or about 91% to about 100%.

In another embodiment, the ER stress agent is selected from EC, thapsigargin and tunicamycin.

III. Proteins and Expression Constructs

The disclosure also provides for isolated proteins produced using a method or process described herein. Accordingly, an aspect provides an isolated protein of interest produced according to the method or process described herein.

The isolated protein is in an embodiment, an antibody or antibody fragment.

The disclosure also provides in another embodiment, an expression vector comprising a polynucleotide encoding an ABC50 polynucleotide and optionally a polynucleotide comprising a protein of interest. Suitable vectors are described for example above and in the examples below.

In an embodiment, the vector comprises a polynucleotide encoding an ABC50 polynucleotide and optionally a polynucleotide encoding a protein of interest, wherein the polynucleotide(s) is/are operably linked to one or more promoters. In an embodiment, the vector is a retroviral vector, optionally a lentiviral vector.

IV. Cells

Another aspect provides a recombinant and/or isolated cell. In an embodiment, the recombinant cell comprises a vector described herein. In another embodiment, the recombinant cell comprises a heterologous ABC50 gene. In yet a further embodiment, the cell comprises an EC resistant cell comprising increased ABC50 expression or activity.

In and embodiment, the cell comprises a heterologous ABC50 polynucleotide operably linked to a promoter or an Ec resistant cell wherein the Ec resistant cell has increased ABC50 protein levels or activity compared to a non-Ec resistant control cell, wherein the cell is suitable and/or adapted for expression of a protein of interest. For example, a hybridoma fusion partner cell is such a suitable cell as a hybridoma fusion partner cell expressing the increased ABC50 is useful for fusing with any antibody cell to produce a hybridoma with increased antibody production compared to a hybridoma cell not comprising increased ABC50 expression. As another example, any eukaryotic cell that is transfectable, transduceable or infectable and that is useful for expressing proteins, for example in large amounts, is also a suitable cell.

In an embodiment, the EC resistant cell is an Ec resistant SP2 cell, CHO cell, NS0 cell, a Per.c6 or L cell.

Suitable host cells are described above. In an embodiment, the cell is selected from a yeast, plant, worm, insect, avian, fish, reptile, mammalian, hybridoma, a myeloma cell or a spleen cell.

A further aspect provides a system for increasing expression of a protein of interest, the system comprising a cell comprising increased expression or activity of ABC50. For example, the cell can be a frozen cell or a lyophilized cell. In an embodiment the system further comprises an expression vector in which can be introduced a polynucleotide encoding a protein of interest. In an embodiment, the ABC50 expression or activity increase results from introduction of a heterologous polynucleotide encoding ABC50. In another embodiment, the ABC50 expression or activity increase results from selection with Ec. In a further embodiment, the system comprises Ec such as in a form suitable for administration to a cell to maintain selective pressure, for example as a stock solution in DMSO for administering to cells at a concentration of for example 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 microM.

V. Compositions

In another aspect, the isolated protein, vector or recombinant cell is comprised in a composition. In yet a further embodiment, the composition comprises a polynucleotide comprising SEQ ID NO:3. In another embodiment, the composition comprises a polynucleotide comprising SEQ ID NO:4. In a further embodiment, the composition comprises a carrier. In another embodiment, the carrier is a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier. In a further aspect, the composition is for decreasing the level of ABC50.

The following non-limiting examples are illustrative of the present disclosure:

EXAMPLES

Example 1

Recently, the inventor showed that transformation by the c-myc oncogene sensitizes cells to Ec by enhancing ROS generation at the mitochondria9 providing at least one mechanism by which cancer cells exhibit sensitivity to Ec.

Previously, the inventor generated and characterized variants of HL60 cells that were resistant to Ec 10. Although selected for resistance to Ec, the cells also displayed resistance to other ER stress agents including thapsigargin, tunicamycin, DTT and cycloheximide, thus defining a novel phenotype of multi-drug resistance associated with ER stress. Resistance was found to be associated with increased store-operated Ca2+ influx capability and sustained protein synthesis after exposure to Ec. Microarray analysis of a resistant clone revealed increased expression of ribosomal protein genes. Biochemical analysis showed that this increased gene expression was associated with increased ribosomal content. Ribosome inactivating toxins partially reversed resistance to ER stress suggesting that the increased ribosomal content and function contributed to resistance.

To further identify genes associated with resistance and sensitivity to Ec, the inventor performed differential display analysis11 comparing the Ec-resistant cell line E2R2 with parental HL60 cells. This analysis identified ABC50 as a gene overexpressed in Ec-resistant cells. ABC50 contributes to Ec-resistance.

Results

Differential Display of Ec-Resistant Vs Sensitive HL60 cells.

In order to identify additional genes associated with Ec resistance, Differential Display analysis was performed11 comparing Ec-resistant E2R2 cells with parental HL60 cells. This analysis identified approximately 200 gene fragments that appeared to be overexpressed in E2R2 cells compared to Wild Type. These gene fragments were cloned and Reverse Northern analysis was employed to confirm differential expression. 50 of the 200 genes had expression levels above the detection limit of the Reverse Northern. Of the 50, 15 genes were confirmed to be differentially expressed. Sequence analysis identified these genes as follows: Two of the 15 encoded ribosomal protein genes, three encoded Alu-containing sequences, two were mitochondrial genes and one gene encoded the integrin CD11a. Two genes were identified that are classified as TNFα inducible. These were HLA gene (Bw-62), and ABC50 (NM001090; aka ABCF1), a member of the ATP binding cassette family (FIG. 1A). Two additional genes of unknown function with no known homology or similarity to any other gene (AC114546, AC012358) were identified. One codes for hypothetical protein FLJ12363 (XP043979) with no known function. The final gene identified in this screen was polyubiquitin C (AB009010). The protein and nucleic acid sequence of the aformentioned genes referred to by accession number, are herein specifically incorporated by reference.

ABC50 Protein Levels in E2R2 Cells.

ABC50 was investigated. It was first confirmed that ABC50 was overexpressed in E2R2 cells. As shown in FIG. 1B, increased levels of ABC50 protein were detected in E2R2 cells compared to HL60 cells. Densitometric analysis of Western blots indicated a 65% increased expression (relative to actin) of ABC50 in E2R2 compared to HL60 cells.

ABC50 Knockdown (KD) in E2R2 Cells.

The association of ABC50 with the Ec-resistance phenotype of E2R2 cells was further investigated by knocking down its expression in these cells. The cells were infected with a lentiviral vector expressing shRNA specific for ABC50 and sorted based on GFP expression. As shown in FIG. 2A, ABC50 knockdown was successful in these cells (36% relative decrease compared to vector control). Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 2B, ABC50 knockdown in E2R2 cells partially reversed their resistance to Ec (21.4% combined early and late apoptosis compared to 7.6% combined early and late apoptosis in the control cells), consistent with a role for ABC50 in the Ec resistance phenotype.

ABC50 Knockdown in HL60 Cells Increases Sensitivity to ER Stress Agents.

To investigate further the consequences of manipulating ABC50 levels in cells, parental HL60 cells were infected with the lentiviral vector expressing shRNA specific for ABC50 and sorted infected cells based on GFP expression. As shown in FIG. 3A, the shRNA knocked down expression of ABC50 by 89% compared to vector control. Light microscopic observation revealed that the cells had no obvious morphological differences. It was also found that the knocked-down cells grew at a rate that was not significantly different from the control cells (FIG. 3B).

The effect of ABC50 knockdown on sensitivity to Ec and other apoptosis-inducing agents was next investigated. Tg is a classic inducer of ER stress and HL60 cells selected for resistance to Ec were also found to be resistant to Tg. Sensitivity to Tunicamycin (Tu), an inhibitor of protein glycosylation and another classic inducer of ER stress was also tested. As shown in FIG. 3C, ABC50 knockdown significantly increased the sensitivity of HL60 cells to Ec, Tg and Tu. In contrast, ABC50 KD did not affect sensitivity to serum withdrawal or the topoisomerase inhibitor etoposide. This observation suggests that ABC50 knockdown specifically increases sensitivity to ER stress-inducing agents.

ABC50 Overexpression in HL60 Cells Decreases Sensitivity to ER Stress Agents.

The observation of increased ABC50 expression in the Ec-resistant E2R2 cells suggested that overexpression of the gene might promote resistance. To investigate this possibility, HL60 cells were infected with a lentiviral vector expressing the full ABC50 coding sequence, infected cells were sorted as above using the GFP marker, and the cell phenotype was analysed. As shown in FIG. 4A, infection with the ABC50 lentiviral vector significantly increased expression of the protein (42% relative increase compared to vector control). Cell growth properties were measured and it was found that the ABC50 overexpressing cells had no significant differences in growth kinetics compared to control HL60 cells infected with vector alone (FIG. 4B). However as shown in FIG. 4C, ABC50 overexpressing cells displayed decreased sensitivity to the ER stress agents Ec, Tg and Tu whereas their sensitivity to serum withdrawal or etoposide was unchanged compared to control cells. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ABC50 expression levels specifically affect sensitivity to ER stress.

ER Ca2+ Content and Influx in ABC50 Knockdown and Overexpressing

It was previously demonstrated that the Ec resistance phenotype of E2R2 cells was associated with altered Ca2+ physiology. Specifically, E2R2 cells displayed unchanged ER Ca2+ store content, but increased Ca2+ influx in response to ER Ca2+ store depletion by the ATPase ER Ca2+ pump inhibitor thapsigargin10. To investigate the effect of altered ABC50 expression on Ca2+ physiology, ER Ca2+ content and influx was measured in ABC50 knockdown and overexpressing cells. As shown in FIG. 5, no differences in either ER Ca2+ content (FIG. 5B, D) or Tg-stimulated Ca2+ influx (FIG. 5A, C) were observed in ABC50 KD or overexpressing cells. These observations indicate that ABC50 does not directly affect Ca2+ physiology in HL60 cells.

ER Stress Response in ABC50 Knockdown or Overexpressing Cells.

Ec, Tg and Tu are all potent inducers of ER stress. To compare the ER stress response of cells with altered ABC50 expression, cells were treated for 60 minutes with the ER stress agents and levels of phosphorylated eIF2α and the chaperone BiP, two classic indicators of ER stress, were determined by Western blot. As shown in FIG. 6A, increased levels of phosphorylated eIF2α were observed in treated ABC50 knockdown cells compared to vector control. Ec and Tg were particularly effective at inducing increased levels of eIF2α. Induction of BiP expression by ER stress agents was not affected by ABC50 knockdown (FIG. 6B) although basal levels were slightly increased compared to control. In contrast, ABC50 overexpressing cells displayed reduced levels of phosphorylated eIF2α when exposed to Ec, Tg and Tu (FIG. 6C). BiP expression was little changed in response to the ER stress agents compared to control (FIG. 6D) with no observed difference in background expression. Taken together, the divergence of response between eIF2α phosphorylation and BiP induction suggests that the effect of ABC50 is specific for the eIF2α response.

Ribosomal Content and Protein Synthesis in ABC50 Knockdown or Overexpressing Cells.

Two major biochemical differences observed previously in Ec-resistant cells were increased ribosomal content and sustained protein synthesis in response to Ec 10. As shown in FIGS. 7A and B, a trend was observed toward decreased ribosomal RNA and Protein in ABC50 knockdown cells and increased levels in ABC50 overexpressing cells. To test the effect of altered ABC50 expression on protein synthesis, ABC50 knock-down or overexpressing cells were exposed to Ec and global protein synthesis rates were measured. As shown in FIG. 8A, exposure of control cells to Ec resulted in a significant decrease in protein synthesis levels. Interestingly, ABC50 knock down cells displayed a lower base rate of protein synthesis compared to control. Addition of Ec reduced protein synthesis rates even further. In contrast, ABC50 overexpressing cells displayed a slightly higher level of protein synthesis compared to control cells and this level was significantly less reduced after exposure to Ec (FIG. 8B). Taken together, these observations indicate that altered ABC50 expression affects ribosomal content, basal protein synthesis and modifies the cellular response to Ec on protein synthesis.

Enhanced IgG Production in ABC50 Overexpressing Hybridoma Cells.

The observation that ABC50 expression influenced global protein synthesis levels suggested that it might also affect expression of individual proteins. This property might be of utility in enhancing production of useful proteins, particularly in cells expressing high amounts of specific proteins such as hybridomas. To test this possibility, hybridoma cell line GK1.5 was infected with the ABC50-expressing lentivirus, infected cells were sorted using GFP expression as a marker of infection (FIG. 9A) and antibody production was measured by Western blotting and ELISA. As shown in FIG. 9B, GK1.5 cells infected with the ABC50 expressing virus produced significantly more antibody heavy and light chains compared to vector control. ELISA analysis of antibody concentrations secreted into the supernatant indicated that antibody production was 44% higher at 48 h in ABC50 overexpressing cells compared to control cultures. (FIG. 9C). This result suggests that ABC50 is useful in boosting protein expression of specific gene products like antibody heavy and light chains.

Selection for Ec Resistance in sp2 Cells Results in Multidrug Resistance and Increased ABC50 Expression.

Sp2 cells are commonly used as fusion partners for creating hybridomas. The ability to generate sp2 cells that are generally resistant to ER stress and overexpress ABC50 would therefore be of use in the process of hybridoma generation. To this end, sp2 cells were exposed to increasing concentrations of Ec as described above for HL60 cells. Their sensitivity to ER stress agents was then characterized. As shown in FIG. 10a, Ec-resistant sp2 cells were also found to be relatively resistant to the other ER stress agents Tg and Tu. Furthermore, expression analysis (FIGS. 10B,C) indicates that ABC50 is also overexpressed in these cells. These observations therefore indicate that Ec selection is useful for selecting ER stress resistant and ABC50 overexpressing cells.

Discussion

Ec induces ER stress and cell death through the sustained depletion of ER Ca2+ stores. This is caused by blocking Ca2+ influx at the plasma membrane and stimulating ER Ca2+ release through ROS generation at the mitochondria. One consequence of this Ca2+ depletion effect is profound inhibition of protein synthesis. The generation and characterization of Ec-resistant mutants further supported the importance of Ca2+ depletion and protein synthesis inhibition by demonstrating increased influx and increased ribosomal content and function in resistant cells. A role for the protein ABC50 in Ec resistance is disclosed. ABC50 is herein identified as an overexpressed gene in Ec-resistant E2R2 cells. Western blot analysis demonstrated that protein levels were increased by 65% compared to WT cells. Sp2 cells similarly selected for Ec resistance were also observed to be multi-drug resistant and to overexpress ABC50. Knockdown of ABC50 in both HL60 and E2R2 cells increased sensitivity to Ec indicating that ABC50 contributes to resistance. ABC50 was also found to modulate sensitivity to Tg and Tu, other ER stress agents but not serum withdrawal or etoposide. ABC50 knockdown had no effect on ER Ca2+ content and influx, but reduced ribosomal content and protein synthesis in knock-down cells and increased ribosomal content and protein synthesis in HL60 cells overexpressing the protein. Taken together, these results indicate that ABC50 affects sensitivity to Ec and other ER stress agents, likely through its effects on protein synthesis.

It is of interest to contrast the effect of ABC50 knock-down with ABC50 overexpression. While the knock-down significantly increased ER stress indicators eIF2α and BiP, decreased protein synthesis and increased sensitivity to Ec, overexpression only slightly relieved ER stress indicators and increased protein synthesis and had only a modest effect on Ec sensitivity. The observation of effects on protein synthesis through ABC50 overexpression differs from the recent work of Paytubi et al. who observed a lack of effect on protein synthesis after overexpressing ABC50 in HEK293 cells3. Without wishing to be bound by theory, these observations indicate that a reduction in its protein level may make ABC50 rate-limiting for protein synthesis while the modest effect from overexpression indicates that ABC50 is not normally rate-limiting. As well, while ABC50 overexpression did partially prevent full inhibition of protein synthesis by Ec, this effect was insufficient to provide significant protection from Ec-induced apoptosis. This observation may indicate that full resistance to Ec requires both altered Ca2+ influx as well as increased protein synthesis.

Manipulating ABC50 expression levels was shown to also alter sensitivity to the classic ER stress inducers Tg and Tu. Tg, like Ec, depletes the ER of Ca2+. However unlike Ec, which blocks Ca2+ influx, ER depletion by Tg overstimulates influx resulting in very high cytoplasmic Ca2+ levels (FIGS. 5A,C). This Ca2+ overload response likely contributes significantly to Tg-induced apoptosis, as documented previously in mast cells4. Therefore the partial effect of ABC50 knockdown on Tg sensitivity may reflect the relative importance of Ca2+ overload compared to ER stress in Tg toxicity. Tu is a glycosylation inhibitor and induces ER stress through the Unfolded Protein Stress Response12, 13. Since one consequence of ER stress induction is suppression of protein synthesis, it is possible that ABC50 knockdown promotes Tu toxicity through a combined effect on protein synthesis. Nevertheless, the fact that ABC50 overexpression partially protects cells from Ec, Tg and Tu indicates that its overexpression contributed to the multi-drug resistance phenotype of E2R2 cells.

As shown in FIG. 6, increased phosphorylation of eIF2α was observed in response to ER stress when ABC50 was knocked down, and decreased levels when ABC50 was overexpressed. Tyzack et al. 2 previously commented that they did not observe any effect of ABC50 on eIF2α phosphorylation by RNA PK in vitro. Without wishing to be bound to theory, the observation that eIF2 phosphorylation is modulated by ABC50 may reflect the unique environment of ER stressed cells. Alternatively, the effects of ABC50 on eIF2α phosphorylation may be an indirect effect associated with altered cellular stress due to insufficient (or excess) ABC50. The fact that BiP induction is little changed when ABC50 expression is altered argues against a general effect on ER stress.

Ribosomal biogenesis is tightly regulated during growth through the mTOR pathway 14, 15. Cellular stress can also influence ribosome biogenesis through both mTOR and JNK-mediated phosphorylation of the TIF-IA transcription factor 16, resulting in inhibition of rDNA transcription. The observation of reduced and increased ribosomal content in ABC50 KD or overexpressing cells respectively is unlikely to reflect growth conditions, since growth rate in both cases appeared to be similar to WT. It is possible that altered ribosomal content reflects differences in basal stress levels, as indicated by increased BiP and phospho-eIF2α levels in ABC50 KD cells.

Although modest, the increased level of protein synthesis due to ABC50 overexpression translated into a significant increase in antibody production by the hybridoma GK1.5. Therefore, increasing ABC50 expression is useful for boosting expression of specific proteins of interest such as antibody heavy and light chains. Interestingly, Ota et al. 17 recently identified a genetic linkage between the ABC50 gene locus and increased susceptibility to autoimmune pancreatitis. Since the phenotype of these patients includes increased serum titers of IgG4, it is possible that ABC50 polymorphisms may contribute to this disease by enhancing antibody production.

ABC50 contributes significantly to Ec resistance. Its mechanism of action appears to be primarily through its modulation of protein synthesis.

Materials and Methods

Cells and Cell Culture

Human HL60 promyelocytic leukemia cells, their E2R2 derivative and GK1.5 hybridoma cells 18 were cultured in RPMI 1640 medium supplemented with 10% FBS and antibiotics.

Growth Curves

Cells were grown in duplicate cultures at the initial concentration of 0.4×106 in RPMI containing 10% FCS. Cells were collected and counted at the 24, 48 and 72 hour time intervals.

Apoptosis

To measure apoptosis induced by Econazole (Ec; Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.), cells were treated with Ec in RPMI containing 1% FBS for 2 hours at 37° C. then further incubated overnight in RPMI containing 10% FBS. Apoptosis induced by thapsigargin (Tg; Sigma-Aldrich) or Tunicamycin (Tu; Sigma-Aldrich) was determined after overnight incubation in RPMI containing 1% FBS. The cells were washed with PBS and stained with Annexin V-cy5 Apoptosis Detection kit (Biovision. Inc., Mountain View, Calif.)/PI and analysed by flow cytometry.

Differential Display

Differential Display 11 comparing mRNA from HL60 vs Ec-resistant E2R2 cells was performed using the Delta Differential Display Kit from Clontech. All procedures were performed according to the manufacturer's instructions and involved using pairwise combinations of 10 Arbitrary primers with 9 Oligo dT primers. Differentially expressed bands were excised from the gel, re-amplified, TA-cloned and sequenced.

Reverse Northern Analysis

3 μg of plasmid DNA from each sample was boiled, rapidly placed on ice, then dotted through a dot blot manifold onto duplicate pre-soaked nylon membranes. The membranes were U.V. cross-linked, incubated in pre-hybridization solution (5×SSC, 5×Denhardt's solution, 50 mM PBS (pH 7.0), 0.2% SDS, 500 μg/ml salmon sperm DNA, 50% formamide). The membranes were hybridized in hybridization solution (5×SSC, 5×Denhardt's solution, 50% formamide) containing 6.5×107 cpm of 32PdCTP-labelled reverse-transcribed cDNA probe from either HL60 or E2R2 total RNA. The blots were hybridized overnight, washed in 2×SSC and then 2×SSC, 0.1% SDS until background radiation was reduced. The blots were exposed to x-ray film for visualization.

Construction of Lentivirus Vectors

The empty lentivirus vector pLEN (H1GFP), in which the H1 promoter drives expression of shRNA sequences was a gift from Dr. John Dick (University Health Network, Toronto, Canada). The sequences of the oligos used to knock down ABC50 expression were: 5′TAAGCTGTCATCTGGCTTAATAAGGATCCTTATTAAGCCAGATGA CAGCTTTTT3′ (SEQ ID NO:3) and 5′CTAGAAAAAGCTGTCATCTGGCTTAATAAGGATCCTTATTAAGCCAGATGA CAGCTTAAT3′ (SEQ ID NO:4). Each pair of oligos were mixed and annealed by incubating at 95° C. for 5 min and cooling slowly. The annealed mixture was ligated into pLEN vector that had been digested with PacI and XbaI.

Construction of Lentivirus Over-Expressing ABC50

The ABC50 clone 7 (obtained from Dr. A. Beaulieu, University of Laval, Quebec, Canada, missing 4 nt from the 5′ end) (GenBank Accession number: AF027302; gi: 2522533) was used as the template for cloning the ABC50 structural gene by PCR amplification. To add the 4 nt at the 5′, two primers were used: Forward: 5′-AT CCCGGG ATGC CGA AGG CGC CCA AGC AGC AGC -3′ (SEQ ID NO:9)(contains XmaI site); Reverse: 5′-AT CTCGAG TCAC TCT CGG GGC CGG CTG ACC -3′ (SEQ ID NO:10) (contains XhoI site). The amplified ABC50 structural gene was first cloned into pCR4Blunt-TOPO vector (Invitrogen) then subcloned into the pCE lentivirus expression vector (Dr. John Dick, UHN, Toronto) that has been digested with XmaI and XhoI. The whole ABC50 gene was sequenced to confirm the lack of mutations.

Generation of the Infective Lentivirus

Lentivirus vectors harboring human ABC50 shRNA or the ABC50 structural gene were produced by transient transfection into 293T cells as previously described 19. Briefly, the backbone plasmid vector construct (10 μg) was mixed with the accessory plasmids VSVG (3.5 μg), pRRE (6.5 μg) and pREV (2.5 μg) and transfected into 293T cells with the Calphos Mammalian Transfection Kit (Clontech, Mountain View, Calif.). The cell supernatant was replaced with 4 ml fresh Iscove MEM (10% FCS) at 24 hours and virus was harvested at 48 hours after the plasmid transfection.

Lentiviral Infection

A total of 0.1×106 HL60 cells were infected with 2 ml lentivirus culture supernatant (˜2×106 virus particles) in the presence of 8 μg/ml polybrene (Sigma-Aldrich, St. Louis, Mo.) for 4 days. Up to 94% of cells were positive for GFP expression. GFP positive cells were sorted by fluorescence activated cell sorting and grown in RPMI (10% FBS) for further analysis.

Western Blot

Cells were washed with PBS and lysed with Triple lysis buffer (50 mM Tris pH7.0, 150 mM NaCl, 0.1% SDS, 1% NP-40 and 0.5% DOC). Proteinase inhibitor (Boehringer) was added to 10 ml lysis buffer before use. Protein concentration was determined with the Pierce BCA kit. 20 μg of total protein was loaded onto 10% SDS-PAGE, transferred onto filters and blotted with rabbit anti-human ABC50 polyclonal serum (kind gift from Dr. C. Proud, Vancouver, Canada). eIF2α and its phosphorylated form (Ser51) were detected with rabbit polyclonal antibodies from Cell Signalling (Danvers, Mass.). Mouse anti-BiP/GRP78 antibodies were obtained from BD Biosciences (San Jose, Calif.) Anti-actin (pan Ab-5, Clone ACTN05) (Labvision/Neomarker, Fremont, Calif.) was used as a loading control.

Ca2+ Measurement

[Ca2+]c, measurements were performed by flow cytometry. Cells (5×105 cells/ml) were serum-deprived for ˜2 hours in Tyrode's buffer [HEPES (10 mM), NaCl (100 mM), KCl (5 mM), CaCl2 (1.4 mM), MgCl2 (1 mM), glucose (5.6 mM), BSA (0.05%)]. Cells were then incubated in Indo-1 loading buffer (30 min, 37° C.; 5 μM Indo-1AM, 0.03% pluronic F-127 in Tyrode's buffer), washed (2 times) and incubated at room temperature (greater than 15 min) to allow for the complete removal and/or conversion of Indo-1AM to Ca2+-sensitive Indo-1. Measurements were performed using a laser tuned to 338 nm while monitoring emissions at 405 nm and 450 nm. The concentration of intracellular free Ca2+ was calculated according to the following formula 20:


[Ca2+]i=Kd×(Fmin/Fmax)×(R−Rmin)/(Rmax−R),

where R is the ratio of the fluorescence intensities measured at 405 nm and 450 nm during the experiments and F is the fluorescence intensity measured at 450 nm. Rmin, Rmax, Fmin and Fmax were determined from in situ calibration of unlysed cells using 4 μM ionomycin in the absence (Rmin and Fmin; 10 mM EGTA) and presence of (Rmax and Fmax) of Ca2+. Kd (250 nM) is the dissociation constant for Indo-1 at 37° C. Rmin, Rmax, Fmin and Fmax varied depending upon settings and were determined at the beginning of each experimental procedure.

Protein Synthesis

Cells (2×105/sample) were collected, washed with PBS and then re-suspended in RPMI supplemented with fatty acid-free bovine serum albumin (BSA; 0.05%; Sigma). Cells were treated with Ec (0, 15 μM) for 15 min. After centrifugation (2,500 rpm; 5 min), cells were pulse-labeled with [3H]-leucine (50 μCi/ml) for 10 min (37° C.; 5% CO2) in leucine-free RPMI. After two washes in RPMI, pellets were lysed with Triton X-100 (0.5% in PBS) followed by trichloroacetic acid (TCA, 10% w/v; 4° C.). Samples were washed in TCA (5% w/v), and the protein pellets were re-suspended in microscintillant (Packard, Conn., USA) and measured using a microplate scintillation counter (Packard).

Ribosomal Purification

5×107 HL-60 cells growing in log phase were collected, washed with cold PBS, and fractionated according to the method described by Greco and Madjar 21. The ribosomal fraction was isolated through centrifugation of post mitochondrial supernatants on top of a 1 M sucrose cushion at 245,000×g to pellet the ribosomes. The ribosome pellets were resuspended in 300 μl of RIPA buffer and disrupted by incubation in 60 mM EDTA on ice for 30 min. The concentration of the total ribosomal protein was calculated based on the absorbance of the samples (A280). Ribosomal RNAs were extracted with TRIzol and the concentration was measured by a spectrophotometer at A260.

IgG Measurements

IgG levels produced by the rat hybridoma GK1.5 (ATCC no. TIB-207) were measured by Western blotting and ELISA. For Western blotting, cells were plated at a concentration of 1×106 cells/ml in growth medium for 24 hours. The cells were then collected, counted, pelleted and cell lysates were prepared in RIPA buffer with protease inhibitors (Sigma). Lysates and cell supernatants were resolved on 10% SDS-PAGE and transferred to PVDF membranes. Antibody heavy and light chains were detected with HRP-conjugated rabbit anti-rat IgG (H+L) (Zymed; San Francisco, Calif.). For ELISA measurements, Goat anti-rat IgG or normal control IgG from Goat serum (Sigma) were diluted to 5 μg/ml in coating buffer (50 mM Tris, 150 mM NaCl, pH9.5), placed into a 96 well ELISA plate in 50 μl volume and incubated for 40 min at room temperature. The plate was washed for 8 times with distilled water and incubated with 50 μl of PBS containing 3% FBS for additional 40 min at room temperature. Empty vector and ABC50 over-expressed lentivirus transfected GK1.5 hybridoma cells were grown in Iscove's Modified Dulbecco's Medium (IMDM) containing 10% FBS. Cell culture supernatant was collected and diluted in same media and 50 μl diluted samples were added into the 96-well plate. Normal rat IgG from rat serum (Sigma) was used for determining the standard curve. After incubating for 2 hours at room temperature, the wells were washed 8 times with distilled water. HRP conjugated Goat anti-rat IgG (Sigma) was diluted 1:2000 in IMDM and 50 μl reagent was added, incubated for another 40 min. and washed as described above. 100 μl of substrate 3,3,5,5_-Tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) (Sigma) was added and the reaction was stopped with 0.5 M H2SO4 when a yellow color developed (5 to 10 min). The plate was read at 450 nM with an ELISA reader.

Statistical Analysis

Where indicated, statistical significance was determined using the Student's t-test. p<0.05 (*), p<0.01 (**) and p<0.001(***) were as indicated.

Example 2

Methods of Producing a Protein of Interest

There are various methods to effect expression of a protein of interest. For example, a cell expressing a protein of interest, endogenous or heterologous can be transfected/transduced with an expression vector or infected with a virus to introduce a ABC50 polynucleotide encoding a ABC50 protein or fragment having protein synthesis increasing activity. For example, a method can comprise:

Transfect/transduce cells expressing a protein of interest with the ABC50 expression vector. Cells could be selected using a drug-resistance marker, or by expression of a co-transduced marker like GFP.

Alternatively, cells overexpressing ABC50 can be made to express the protein of interest. For example, a method can comprise the following:

Overexpress ABC50 in cells, then transfect them with the recombinant protein of interest.

In a further alternative, the protein of interest and ABC50 protein or fragment, can be coexpressed for example by transfect/transduce cells with ABC50 and the protein of interest together.

Further Ec selection can be used to increase ABC50 levels in a cell expressing a protein of interest and/or in a cell into which a polynucleotide encoding a protein of interest is introduced. For example such a method could comprise: select cells that are resistant to Ec and then use them as recipients for further transfection with a protein of interest.

Table: Sequences

1. Examples of Human ABC50 Molecules

A human ABC50 amino acid sequence is provided in SEQ ID NO:1
A human ABC50 nucleotide sequence is provided in SEQ ID NO: 6

2. Examples of Rat ABC50 Molecules

A rat ABC50 amino acid sequence is provided in SEQ ID NO:2
A rat ABC50 nucleotide sequence is provided in SEQ ID NO:7

3. Examples of Mouse ABC50 Molecules

A mouse ABC50 amino acid sequence is provided in SEQ ID NO: 5
A mouse ABC50 nucleotide sequence is provided in SEQ ID NO: 8

4. Examples of Antisense Agents

(SEQ ID NO: 3)
5′TAAGCTGTCATCTGGCTTAATAAGGATCCTTATTAAGCCAGATGACAG
CTTTTT3′
(SEQ ID NO: 4)
5′CTAGAAAAAGCTGTCATCTGGCTTAATAAGGATCCTTATTAAGCCAGA
TGACAGCTTAAT3′

5. Examples of Primers for Cloning ABC50

(SEQ ID NO: 9)
5′-AT CCCGGG ATGC CGA AGG CGC CCA AGC AGC AGC-3′
(contains Xmal site);
(SEQ ID NO: 10)
5′-AT CTCGAG TCAC TCT CGG GGC CGG CTG ACC-3′
(contains Xhol site)

While the present disclosure has been described with reference to what are presently considered to be the preferred examples, it is to be understood that the disclosure is not limited to the disclosed examples. To the contrary, the disclosure is intended to cover various modifications and equivalent arrangements included within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.

All publications, patents and patent applications are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference in its entirety.

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